Eastern Desert, 62 km north east of Amman

8th Century AD

Residents – FREE
Non-residents – FREE

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North 32° 05′ 00″
East 36° 21′ 47″

3.8/5

Hammam As-Sarah

Situated 2 km to the west of Qasr Al-Hallabat  Hammam As-Sarah is a bath complex that was used by visitors to Al-Hallabat. Smaller than the Amra baths the attractive limestone building has been partially restored. Its plan, like Amra, consists of 3 principal elements: The Audience Hall, The Bath Complex, and The Water System.

Hammam As-Sarah

The audience hall is roofed by 3 tunnel vaults resting on the sidewall and two intermediate transverse arches. The northeastern corner of this hall had a fountain, which received its water from an elevated tank to the east. The bath proper consists of 3 rooms corresponding to the cold, warm, and hot rooms.

Like the audience hall at Qasr Amra, an alcove leads into two small side rooms each one incorporating three narrow windows. The bath area can be entered through a doorway at the northern corner of the hall. This leads first into the apodyterium (changing room) through which to the right one can enter the tepidarium (heated room).

Directly across from this entrance another passageway leads to a small bay. The caldarium is accessed off the northeast side of the tepidarium and includes two semicircular niches, each featuring a central window that flanks the main domed area. The dome itself was lacquered with rose-coloured cement on its exterior with shale-covered supports on its interior. In addition, it was punctuated with eight round apertures of which remnants can still be detected. Once decorated in marble, mosaics, and frescoes, these attributes of Hammam As-Sarah are today being restored.

The water system consists of a well, tank and turning circle for the animal to raise the water. Remains of a late Ottoman mosque are also nearby. This monument suffered severe damage in the 1950s when the building was pilfered for its stones.

Fortunately, it has since been well restored and today you can see many elements of this complex. There is no visitor’s centre, like at the Qasr Al-Hallabat, so just park the car across the entrance to the complex and push the gate, if it’s closed.

Hammam As-Sarah

Hammam As-Sarah is considered one of the important monuments, built during the early Islamic era. It brings out most of the Islamic building features used in that period. The complex was attributed to the caliphate of Al-Walid bin Abed al-Malik (705- 715) in analogy with the bath complex of Qasr Amra.

The bath continued operating during the Abbasid period, although it underwent a drastic transformation as the hypocaustum was dismantled and its bricks sacked and reused for the construction of kilns. Nevertheless, the apodyterium and the frigidarium were kept in use.

The building was first discovered by Butler in 1905 and later described, photographed and surveyed by Creswell in 1926. It was well preserved until the decade of 1950s, but it has been heavily damaged since then due to a massive process of looting that destroyed it almost completely. Excavation and restoration undertaken by the Department of Antiquities in 1974-1975 prevented its complete ruin, although some of the elements were not successfully restored.

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Timeline of Hammam As-Sarah History

8th Century AD

Umayyad Period

Built in the 8th century AD, in relation to Qasr Al-Hallabat, this bath complex introduced a combination of the functional and social value of bathing practices with political interests.
8th Century AD
10th Century AD

Abbasid Period

The bath continued operating during the Abbasid period, although it underwent a drastic transformation.
10th Century AD
20th Century AD

Present Time

In the 1950s it suffered severe damage from the local population but was restored later on to its original state.
20th Century AD

Nearby Attractions

Qasr Al-Hallabat, 30 km from Zarka and 60 km from Amman, is perhaps one of the most representative and important sites in the Near East …

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